Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Garden Room 2.0

Before I begin, I think I should post a disclaimer here.  The phrase "Garden Room" evokes (in me, at least) an image of a lush, plant filled room with a pretty fountain quietly trickling into a stone pond, with maybe a couple of koi swimming around and a relaxing seating area where one can take in the peaceful beauty.  The wall is full of windows and lots of natural light shines in to keep the plants healthy and happy.

Well, our garden room will be plant filled, and the water as it travels in and out of the various beds and tanks will certainly have a trickling sound, but there are not any koi (yet anyway) and most of the light comes from fluorescent tubes.  There sure enough won't be room for any sitting area!!  So, now that we have all that out of the way, allow me to commence sharing photos of our little converted patio-cum-aquaponics garden room!

Before:

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the view looking out the window from the dining room.  Here is what the enclosed area looks like now.

 This first one is the view looking out from the dining room door.  You can see the lights overhead, (there will be another two added, and these rearranged a bit before it's all said and done) and the frames Ornery built to support the converted IBC totes.  There were three totes to begin with, and he is using one whole one (with the top cut out) for the fish tank (far left) one for the sump tank and one grow bed, (cut 1/3 x 2/3) and the third for two grow beds (cut in half).  He has installed a rather intricate plumbing system that works with siphons and pumps.  The siphons work, although they need adjusting so they will stop siphoning when they need to...

This is a picture looking into the room from the newly installed French doors.  The fish tank is in the front here, and you can see all three grow beds.  In the far back corner (about the middle of the photo) is a shelf Ornery built several years ago out of cedar fence pickets.  It will hold several odds and ends of garden tools and supplies.

The fish tank is not set up yet at all, but Ornery has filled and carried 5 gallon buckets to fill the sump tank -- about 170 gallons so far -- from our shower (because it is filtered water) to the garden room.  The chiropractor noted his increased manual labor and prescribed some zinc to help keep the connective tissue intact! :)

 Here's the ornery guy, posing for a picture, which I wasn't really intending to take, but he was in the way. :)

 Standing by the aforementioned picket shelf, I took this photo of our seed rack. We only have two trays of seeds started right now, and not all of those are actually planted.  The lights are on a timer and turn on at 5:00 AM and off at 10:00 PM.  The seedlings are happy...

 These little guys were up on the third day!
It's hard to see, but there are several basil and marjoram plants coming up, too.  Most of the pepper seeds are still waiting to hatch. :)

 In case you missed this when I posted earlier, this is a view of the outside now.  We still haven't painted it, but the weather is really nice right now, so maybe soon.

I didn't ever take a photo of the patio full of IBC totes, but I can tell you, this is a much nicer view!  There are some bags of grow stones waiting to be rinsed and put in the beds at the far end of the patio. The black bag on the lawn is full of leaves I raked up to use in the raised garden beds.

We ordered a total of 30 bags of grow stones from Amazon.  They came two bags to a box, and while the bags are lightweight (14 lbs. each) they were big and bulky.  The grow media has to be completely rinsed, soaked and rinsed again before it can be added to the beds.  Ornery is in the soaking stage of the first 18 bags of stones.  It will need to be rinsed later today, then put into the beds, which will take about 10 bags each.  This was one of the most expensive aspects of the project--other than the construction, of course.

We will be recycling the bags and boxes from the project beneath our outdoor raised garden beds, which will be built later today. Elizabeth is coming to help with the project in exchange for Ornery cutting her wood and hauling it home for her. :)

The project is coming together MUCH slower than Ornery had anticipated, but we are very pleased with how well things are working so far.  I am so proud of him for doing all the research and work to make this dream a reality!

5 comments:

Jackie Parkins said...

That does look like a lot of work, and I thought your garden room was the Zen-like, peaceful kind but you will have lots of fresh veggies and that's even better!

JoJo said...

Wow! You've done so much work!

LittleMyoo said...

Holy cow! I don't even know what half that stuff means, but I'm totally impressed. I never have any luck growing anything from seed. And I'm dying to put in a lovely organic garden, but I just bought organic broccoli from Kroger and it was full of spiders. Gag.

-andi

Families of the Nations said...

Fascinating! You can take the boy off the farm but you can't take the farmer out of the man who was that boy! That's what came to my mind. I recalled Elson's interest in the drip methods of the Israelis to make their desert bloom, beyond his own farming in OK that Dave took part in. What you and Dave are doing in the Garden Room looks tremendously complicated and labor intensive to get underway but indeed, the right man has been chosen for this big job-- he's not flinching, but relishing the challenge of it all, I bet! How cool! Keep us posted!!

Julie Steed said...

What a great projects! You've put a lot of work into this. Looking forward to seeing more as the little seedlets do their thing and the fishies join the party.